Globalize! Globalize! Faster! Faster!

More and more US companies and Web sites are accelerating their pace of global expansion.Consider the following:

  • According to this Reuters article, Starbucks plans to increase the number of international stores by 20% annually in the years ahead while keeping the number of US stores relatively flat. Starbucks is pushing into China, Brazil, and Argentina.
  • Shares of eBay are up today after the company announced that it remains on pace to return to China’s online auction market this summer, thanks to its partnership with Tom Online.
  • Best Buy is accelerating its rate of expansion in China — planning to open 8 to 10 stores over the next 18 months, up from the 2 to 3 stores it originally had planned.
  • And then there is YouTube, which has received an enormous amount of press coverage over its launch this week of nine localized Web sites in seven languages.

And here’s a relevant excerpt from a recent LA Times article on Web 2.0 companies racing to go global:

“If we’d had it our way, we’d have done this a long time ago,” Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, says of his operation’s new international plans — hardly what you’d expect to hear from a service that was launched barely two years ago. Chen blames a lack of resources for YouTube’s failure to go global earlier. That changed with Google’s acquisition last year.

“Many start-ups in the U.S. start with [only] a U.S. presence simply because it is such a large market,” said Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google. “The moment we acquired YouTube, I told [founders] Chad and Steve, ‘Get yourselves on a plane.’ “

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